From Internationalism to Postcolonialism: Literature and Cinema between the Second and Third World

“Is the post- in postcolonial the post- in post-Soviet?” asked David C. Moore in 2001, prompting a reexamination of the dynamics between the Russian metropole and its Eurasian peripheries. But to deploy the postcolonial optic here is to presuppose the passing of an era of global ideological and cultural entanglements, primarily unfolding between the Second and the Third Worlds before the end of the Cold War. In his book talk on March 6th, 2020, Professor Rossen Djagalov revisited the history of Soviet Union’s cultural engagements with the literature, films, and cultures from a region now known as the Global South. His new monograph, From Internationalism to Postcolonialism: Literature and Cinema between the Second and Third World (McGill-Queens, 2020), reconstructs the Soviet Third-Worldist literary formation as that which bridges between the interwar-era internationalism and the present-day (post-Soviet) postcolonial studies. Rossen Djagalov is an Assistant Professor of Russian Slavic Studies at New York University, who focuses on socialist culture globally and, more specifically, on the linkages between cultural producers and audiences in the USSR and abroad. The talk was introduced by Yannis Kotsonis, Professor of History & Russian & Slavic Studies at New York University.

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Anindita Banerjee speaks on Aelita, Queen of Mars in Radiant Futures keynote speech

On April 8, 2016, the NYU Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia hosted a conference entitled “Radiant Futures: Russian Fantasy and Science Fiction.” After the first panel, NYU Professor of Russian and Slavic Studies Eliot Borenstein introduced keynote speaker Anindita Banerjee. “If we think of our conference and our field in terms of science fiction, then she is Queen of Mars, our Aelita,” Borenstein said. Banerjee, a professor of comparative literature at Cornell University, centered her talk on Aelita, Queen of Mars, a 1924 Soviet silent film directed by Yakov Protazanov based on Alexei Tolstoy’s eponymous novel.

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Molly Brunson discusses perspectival space in Gogol’s Dead Souls


On February 26, 2016, the NYU Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia welcomed Molly Brunson from Yale University for a lecture on “Gogol Country: Rural Russia in Perspective.” After being introduced by Anne Lounsbery, Russian and Slavic Studies Department Chair at NYU, Brunson spoke about her work on a new project, titled “Russian Points of View: The Theory and Practice of Perspective in Russia, 1820-1840.” In her talk the speaker opened up productive ways to look at Gogol’s work, resisting fixation on dichotomies in order to center attention on the writer’s use of perspectival devices.

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Daniel Mellis and Eugene Ostashevsky recreate Vasily Kamensky’s Tango with Cows

On October 30, 2015, the NYU Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia welcomed visual artist Daniel Mellis and Russian-American poet and translator Eugene Ostashevsky to speak on their ongoing reproduction and English translation of Vasily Kamensky’s Tango with Cows. The book, which contains six of his ferroconcrete poems, was originally published in Moscow in the spring of 1914.

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Russell Valentino unravels mystery behind Woman in the Window

Russell Valentino. Image by Ilaria Parogni

On April 3, 2015, the NYU Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia welcomed Russell Valentino – professor and chair of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures at Indiana University – to speak about his latest monograph The Woman in the Window, published by Ohio University Press in October 2014. Valentino stated that the image of a woman in the window was ubiquitous in the books and films with which he has been working for many years. When writing about this trope, Valentino added, it is hard not to write about male fantasy.

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Igor Pilshchikov discusses the legacy of Russian Formalism

On March 31, 2015, the NYU Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia welcomed Igor Pilshchikov, lead researcher at the Institute for World Culture at Lomonosov Moscow State University and a senior researcher at Tallinn University, to present a paper entitled “The Legacy of Russian Formalism and Contemporary Humanities.” Pilshchikov discussed the lack of methodological unity and a singular paradigm in the Russian Formalist school, – a group of literary critics operating from the 1910s to the 1930s – due to the diversity of approaches and ideas formulated by its two circles. One circle was based in St. Petersburg and was known as the OPOYAZ. The second was the Moscow Linguistic Circle (MLC), which set a significant precedent for further 20th century scholarship in linguistics and literary theory, Pilshchikov said. Pilshchikov also noted that the MLC’s legacy is largely underestimated, mainly because unlike the OPOYAZ they hardly published any of their works. It wasn’t until recently that their works were published and closely scrutinized.

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Day 1 – Two-day workshop starts new conversations on Russia`s Races

David Rainbow. Image by Ilaria Parogni

On February 26, 2015, the NYU Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia hosted a two-day workshop on the topic of racial categorizations in Russia. The event, titled Russia’s Races: Meanings and Practices of Race in Imperial Russia and the Soviet Union and convened by David Rainbow, a postdoctoral research fellow at Columbia University’s Harriman Institute for Russian, Eurasian, and East European Studies, was co-sponsored by NYU Department of History, Global Research Initiatives (NYU Provost), the Harriman Institute and the Humanities Initiative (NYU).

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Will Somebody Please Write This Novel?

The dependably inventive G. Willow Wilson has just come out with a novel called Alif the Unseen, which somehow combines gray hat Arab hackers, would-be Islamic terrorists, and troublemaking djinns into a narrative that never feels overstuffed. Alif takes place in an unnamed City somewhere in the Middle East, and Wilson (a longtime resident of Cairo whose initial claim to fame was her memoir about her conversion to Islam) juggles politics and magical realism with remarkable flair. So what does this have to do with Russia?

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